With yoga steadily on the rise, more and more people want to make teaching yoga their career. When you first start looking into becoming a yoga instructor, the abundance of different Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) courses out there can be confusing. Perhaps you’re wondering if you need to undergo any formal training at all in order to start working as a yoga instructor. Keep reading to find out why you need a proper certification if you want to make yoga your career:
1. Gaining Teaching Skills and Experience
While having a dedicated self-practice is very important, it does not guarantee that you can effectively guide others. Teaching yoga requires much more than showing up to class and demonstrating a few poses:
Even before you arrive, you’ll need to plan and structure your sequence. Often, yoga classes are structured around a specific body part or build up to a “peak pose”. In both cases, you need to guide your students through an intelligent sequence in order to prepare their bodies, always keeping in mind their level of experience, strength and flexibility.
During class, you’ll demonstrate, instruct and adjust your students – often doing several things at once. You’ll also need to hold space for each individual student in your class, as the yoga practice sometimes stirs up suppressed emotions or past trauma.
Keeping all of this in mind might seem overwhelming now, but your Yoga Teacher Training will equip you with all the tools you need to deliver meaningful yoga classes.
2. Taking Responsibility for Your Students’ Wellbeing
While it’s well-known that yoga is good for your health, it’s a physical activity that challenges our bodies and may at times lead to injuries.
As a yoga teacher, you have to make sure that the instructions and adjustments you provide are safe and beneficial for your students. This requires a firm understanding of anatomy, in-depth knowledge of each yoga pose you teach, experience in hands-on-adjustments, and keen observation of your students as no two bodies are the same.
Before starting a YTT, students often worry that the anatomy classes might be dry or too hard to understand. But when the anatomical knowledge is applied to yoga in a practical and experiential way, the classes will greatly help you understand your own and other people’s bodies during the yoga practice – key to minimizing injuries.
3. Teaching Authentic Yoga – Not Fitness
Although most yoga classes nowadays are focused on cultivating a flexible and strong body, yoga is much more than a workout. Developed thousands of years ago, the purpose of yoga is self-realization, a state of oneness where one’s true nature is revealed. The yoga postures are only one of eight limbs that help us transcend the confines of the ego and realize our true essence.
While each yoga teacher will find their own focus and teaching style, understanding the origin and deeper meaning of yoga is crucial to honoring this ancient practice. A good YTT will introduce you to yogic philosophy, allowing you to incorporate authentic practices into your teaching and work with subtle energies beyond the physical body.
4. More Job Opportunities
Although in most countries there are no actual laws regulating yoga teachers, you are unlikely to have much luck finding a teaching job without completing a formal Yoga Teacher Training. Having a YTT certification gives potential employers an idea of your training, qualifications, and experience and shows that you take yoga seriously, making you more likely to be hired.
Some studios – especially in the United States – require their teachers to have a Yoga Alliance certificate. This is the largest international organization that sets the standards for yoga professionals worldwide. Since most reputable YTTs are registered with the Yoga Alliance, it is likely that your YTT will qualify you to register.
5. Advancing Your Yoga Career
Most students start with a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. They are the most popular programs, designed for first-time trainees, and lay the perfect foundation for your yoga career.
Later, you can elevate your skillset by completing an advanced 300-hour course. These programs build on the 200 hours you have previously acquired.
You may also choose to specialize in a particular style of yoga or focus on working with a specific group of students. The options of specialty yoga courses are endless, but some of the most popular options are prenatal yoga, yoga for children, yin yoga, and trauma-informed yoga.
6. Transforming Your Life
During a Yoga Teacher Training, you dive into ancient practices, discover a new perspective on life, and challenge your body and mind. That’s why most students find the experience of going through a Yoga Teacher Training even more meaningful than having the certificate itself.
It’s a unique chance to immerse yourself in a healthy and connected way of life, practice presence, and create healthier habits for your daily routine. Most importantly, understanding – and experiencing – the true meaning of yoga sparks a life-long journey of self-exploration and transformation.
In the words of the influential yoga teacher B.K.S Iyengar: “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees”.
Are you ready to explore becoming a certified teacher? Check out our 200-Hour Online Yoga Teacher Training and join the first day for free!